Start-up division. New plant. 650 employees. Cutting-edge technology. Global partners. High risk, high reward.
Enter Joy Romero.
As vice president of Vought Aircraft Industries’ Advanced Aero-Solutions Division, Joy, along with her team, is responsible for delivering the aft fuselage section of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The 787 program represents a radical change in the way Vought and Boeing do business. On the engineering side, the design, the material and the production processes are state-of-the-art. Innovation also comes from a new, more collaborative relationship among Boeing, Vought and other key suppliers. “Integration and collaboration are critical to the success of this project,” says Joy, who joined Vought from Boeing, where she served as director of 787 North American Supply Chain Integration.
Creating a leadership strategy and an operating culture that supports learning, communication, shared responsibility and cross-boundary relationships doesn’t happen automatically. “We’re learning what it looks like to act interdependently,” she says. “It starts with looking inward, changing my leadership style and working with my leadership team in new ways. It’s a different way of leading for all of us Type-A personalities.”
Joy’s new thinking about leadership was just what Vought’s CEO, Elmer Doty, was looking to foster when he contracted with CCL to support the company’s new work and strengthen all divisions.
CCL created the Leadership Excellence Program for Vought senior managers, and Joy and other executives attended CCL’s Leadership at the Peak (LAP) program. For Joy, LAP was a “real eye-opener” about what she needed to do differently to be effective in a changing industry. “I needed to let go of control and trust my leadership team to be more responsible and accountable,” she says. “I felt I had to absorb all the responsibility. Rather than empowering my team, I was micromanaging them. They felt I didn’t trust them and I felt like I needed to be in control of everything. After CCL, I realized this was something I could change so we could be more successful as a team.”
Now, Joy and her leadership team are focused on workplace culture and leadership strategy. Thanks to CCL’s “Transforming Your Leadership” process and workshop, they’ve identified five critical initiatives, including mentoring middle managers, which will help instill a collaborative learning culture more broadly in the organization.
“It’s easy to say we don’t have time to do this stuff,” says Joy. “But I don’t think we have a choice. If we want to change, all of us need to make it happen.”
“And when the Boeing 787 flies, we will have won the hearts of our employees and, in the process, transformed who we are and how we work.”